BOSTON (CBS) - You've got to hand it to Pope Francis, he knows how to use his pulpit to promote serious discussion and thought.
In an interview published Thursday, the Pope warned that the church's moral authority might crumble if its priests remain "obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently," a specific reference to church teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality.
"We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel."
Listen to Jon's commentary:
Keller at Large Sept 20 2013
The pontiff said the church must resemble a "field hospital after battle," devoted foremost to healing and inclusion and only secondarily to promoting doctrine.
"It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars," Francis said. "You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else."
Experts are saying this is not a retreat from the church's social positions, but a change in tone designed to broaden the church's appeal.
And it's definitely food for thought for the secular world as well.
I've been out in the street several days this week following Boston mayoral candidates, and it's truly an educational experience.
In order to win votes, the powerful are forced to meet people where they live, listen to their concerns, and humbly ask for their support. No one is asking them to give up their principles. But candidates who take a strident, hectoring tone are unlikely to fare well.
If only humility and conciliation were standard behavior for all people in power, what a better world we'd live in.
As the Pope puts it: "We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity."
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.
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